Fylde primary schools are to receive life-saving equipment after records were smashed at Lytham St Annes Lions’ charity swimarathon for the second year running.
After presenting secondary schools across the area with defibrillators thanks to the £10,000 proceeds of last year’s event, the Lions looked to extend the donation to benefit younger children – and raised a best-ever total of £11,537 as more than 450 swimmers of all ages took part at St Annes YMCA Pool.
The total was a little short of the target the Lions had set to fund the equipment but the organisation itself is to make up the shortfall and make sure a defibrillator goes to each of the 13 schools which has said it wants one – and officials have paid glowing tribute to the Fylde public who sponsored swimmers for their generosity as well as the swimmers themselves for their dedication.
“We were so pleased to set a new record total last year and to do it again this time is absolutely wonderful – thanks so much to everyone who contributed,” said Lions spokesman Colin Holt, “We intend to present the machines and get training under way for staff at the schools as soon as possible.”
Event organiser Joe Woods added: “We had swimmers aged from as young as four right up to 40 or 50 and beyond. The total of 57 teams was our best-ever and we had to ask for extra time at the venue to fit all the teams in.”
The Lions have now raised more than £190,000 for various causes over 29 years of the swimarathon and targeted defibrillators for schools as a cause as they look top prevent tragedies such as the sudden death of St Annes teenager Luke Rutter, who collapsed with a heart problem on a tennis court four years ago.
The teams taking part included representation from the recipient schools and Rachel Legge, headteacher of Clifton Primary in St Annes, among those set to receive a machine, said: “It is a marvellous gesture by the Lions. Hopefully the defibrillator will gather dust in a corner and never be needed – but it is good to have one around just in case and this is a fun way to fund it.”
To order any of these phototgraphs, call (01253) 361867.